It’s been almost a year now, just one month and five days since my mom passed away (Dec. 9, 2013). Although she was in my life around 34 and a half years, there will always be major changes in life where I’ve had to reconsider even the things she’s taught me without realizing it, both good and bad; I’ll always be thankful for her and want to honor her memory by continue to change and set out what I know I desire and need to do in my life.
One thing I did learn: we are not always in control of what happens to us, but in time we can learn to be in control of how we react. People can seek to control us or manipulate us and others can actually be genuine in helping us, even when that so called help can hurt us. My mom wasn’t perfect, but she did what she could do to contribute and dedicate herself to what touched her heart. Although there were things out of her control, she trusted in God that at least her strength and understanding of herself and her world would come from that faith. Her death might not have been in her control, but she learned to love, trust and encourage others, and bring that shining smile.
We may not be in control of how we die, I really don’t see how we could be, let alone should be, after all we are not the ones who bring ourselves into this world of chaos. What we leave behind, even at the very end can, in some unseen way, bring hope and dignity to others that they can continue and make their own. If we were in charge of how we died, would we change how we live? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. Just something to think about. Since death and life can happen in an instant of love or hatred or absolute carelessness, let dignity not be something to grasp with flailing hands, but since we already have it and can be careless with it, we must be careful how we hold ourselves, and be an example of love and respect to those who have difficulty taking their next breath, yet yearning to be alive.
It was difficult seeing my mother on a breathing tube as she passed away on that bed. Even now I can feel some emotion rising. She might have looked “undignified”, or strange or even without life in that moment. But it was her endearing spirit that rose above her own struggles and complexities to the life she was given. I can say that, that was and always will be more than dignified, that is love. And love has to get her hands dirty.